What Percentage of Adults in the World Have A Financial Account?

May 05, 2015
Question of the Day, Research, Savings, Current Events

Answer:  62% in 2014, up from 51% in 2011.

Fascinating article in the New Yorker which analyzes the results of a recent World Bank report on Financial Inclusion.  One takeaway described how savings accounts were a source of power to women:

In putting together the Findex report, Klapper told me that she was particularly struck by the stories she heard from women that highlighted how savings accounts can be a source of familial power—and how not having accounts can have negative repercussions that go beyond the financial sphere. A Bangladeshi garment worker who didn’t have a bank account told Klapper that her mother-in-law waits outside the factory gates, to take her cash wages as she receives them…

As well as some of the reasons why people don’t have accounts:

For the Findex report, researchers asked people without savings accounts for the reasons they don’t have them. The explanation people gave most often was that they didn’t have enough money to warrant opening one. Other common reasons were that they didn’t otherwise need one or a family member already had one. After those, the top responses had to do with barriers to access: accounts were too expensive, financial institutions were too far away, or people didn’t have the documentation they needed to open accounts. Governments and account providers, Klapper said, need “to design appropriate products.”

A few good questions to get the conversation started might be:

  • Do you have a financial account?  If so, what type of account?
  • If not, what are the reasons that you don’t have an account?
  • For those that do have accounts, what power/advantages do you derive from having an account?


Check out this NGPF Activity on Creating a Savings Goal.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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